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Two faculty members participate in FEMA focus group



Carol Cwiak and Jessica Jensen, assistant professors of emergency management, recently participated in a two-day focus group for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA. The group looked at synergy between emergency management training and education efforts. Sponsored by the FEMA Higher Education Program, the group met at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md.

The group included five academic representatives, five practitioner representatives and three FEMA representatives. Cwiak facilitated the group and will produce a report of the proceedings.

The engagement arose out of discussions that originated under the auspices of the International Association of Emergency Managers’ Training and Education Committee in October 2012. Cwiak, as executive director of the Emergency Management Higher Education Consortium, sits on the committee as a liaison for emergency management higher education. She suggested a group be convened under the auspices of the FEMA Higher Education Program and the initiative moved forward as a collaborative effort between the IAEM committee and the consortium.

The group addressed matters such as the definitions and purviews of training and education; the realities and challenges faced in the practitioner and higher education communities; areas of current support and collaboration; and areas of potential future support and collaboration. The group will work on a number of collective efforts over the next few months before meeting again.

“The level of consensus and forward movement that the group achieved was impressive. It was clear that this was a timely discussion and the right representatives were in the room,” Cwiak said. “The efforts of this group have set the path for future synergistic efforts between emergency management training and education.”

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